Today we looked into the various benefits our employers offered for adoption – including assistance programs and paternity leaves. Just another confirmation that the Lord has been paving the way all along for us!!
Although we had received many confirmations so far, today was actually the first day that I experienced some doubt. Up until that point, it was pretty much pure excitement. I think I just began to process the reality of it and how much our lives would be changing. It seemed almost overwhelming, so I determined to act “BY FAITH” and not get bogged down in what it would look like 1 year, 5 years, or even 10 years down the road…
We received some more information from the adoption agency about the whole process. They told us that a homestudy typically lasts anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months and that we have to work with an organization within North Carolina. Once the homestudy is finalized, we send all of the information to HAPS (adoption agency) in New Jersey. They perform some additional procedures before sending our dossier (packet of info) to Russia. Then everything has to be translated and re-notarized prior to registration with the Russian Department of Education. Once registered, we can finally get our visitation date, which will likely be about two weeks after the DOE registration is complete! If things go well, we could expect to travel to Moscow for the first time sometime between the end of April/early June. The second trip would be for a court date, which would be set about 6-8 weeks after the first trip. Then we would make a final trip after a 30-day waiting period to bring our little girl home!
Since Martha had been getting information about Dana for a week or two, she forwarded us some additional info she had received. We got a kick out of this description apparently from a volunteer at the orphanage: “Dana is very accurately neat. When she eats, she does it as a real duchess J …putting a little finger aside and a napkin on knees. Dana likes to dress up and carefully selects a wardrobe to make sure that color of a hairpin is in harmony with color of a dress.”
When we read the part about how she is “accurately neat” and eats “as a real duchess,” we laughed and thought, “man, she’s probably going to come here and think that we’re real slobs!”
There was also a link to some additional pictures. Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out how to download them since everything was in Russian. So who do we know that can read Russian? Only Daniel’s cousin who lives in Russia! Daniel changed the wording in the forwarded email to make it sound like Mike and Martha were requesting a translation. That night, Daniel’s cousin called Martha from half-way around the world! Since she hadn’t noticed Daniel’s edited email, she was surprised when he said, “So I hear you guys are thinking of adopting again?” Thankfully, Martha didn’t spill the beans, but she certainly had some explaining to do! From Daniel’s cousin, we also learned that her name was “Masha.”
That night as Daniel and I sat on the couch, we talked and prayed a lot. Daniel shared how he felt like he was just standing on the edge of a cliff and knew he needed to jump. Finally, he said, “I’m ready to jump!” And that was it! We cried a lot that night out of pure joy! Daniel even danced around singing this song, “We’re gonna have a daughter! We’re gonna have a Dana….”
As we sat down to write an email to the adoption agency, Daniel encouraged me to call Martha. It was nearly 11 PM, and I told him I thought it was too late. Within seconds, though, I received an email from Martha. Since she was still awake, I grabbed my phone and called her. When she answered the phone, we told her that we were officially going to be adopting Dana! She was so excited, and told us how Mike had just said, “I’ve just got a feeling – someone’s going to commit to adopt her before the morning.” Just a feeling?? Yeah right! That was the Holy Spirit!
Within minutes, we received an email from a Russian advocate who we had been in contact with, and she expressed her excitement. She also informed us that our little girl’s real name is “Maria.” (We later found out that Masha is kind of a shortened version of Maria in Russian).
So here we come, Maria!!!